Laugh at the Bank

Féile Weekend Comedy Festival. Click Play Audio for a podcast with festival director Sean Paul O'Hare

Féile an Phobail, the west Belfast arts and culture organisation, have announced Belfast’s first dedicated Weekend Comedy Festival, which will take place over the May Bank Holiday weekend (May 22–24).

Sean HughesThe festival will run over three days and three nights, featuring headline acts Kevin McAleer, PJ Gallagher and Sean Hughes.

Each headline act will be supported by upcoming local comedians such as Willa White and Damian Clark, and festival compere for the weekend will be Northern Ireland's own Tim McGarry, of Give My Head Peace and The Hole in the Wall Gang fame.

Director of Féile an Phobail, Sean Paul O'Hare, is excited at the prospect of Belast's first dedicated comedy festival.

'The establishment of a weekend comedy festival marks a real milestone for the city, and what it has to offer local people and tourists alike,' O'Hare comments. 'We envisage this festival growing from strength to strength, with the potential for holding its own amongst the comedy festival greats of Edinburgh, Montreal and of course, Kilkenny.

'Féile an Phobail has a 21 year tradition of bringing great festivals to the community, and is proud toKevin McAleer deliver Belfast’s first Weekend Comedy Festival. Now, as ever, we hold dear our commitment to bring high quality acts to the local community at affordable and accessible prices.'

The Laugh at the Bank Weekend Comedy Festival is not limited to the stage, however. Away from Bank Square (behind Tesco's in the centre of Belfast), festival goers will have the chance to join in on the fun in the Cathedral Quarter when the festival hosts the Belfast Bull Run.

Starting off from the Duke of York pub, this peculiar event will feature actors dressed in huge, specially designed bull head masks chasing runners through the cobbled streets. To add to the sense of drama, and in keeping with the Spanish Pamplona Bull Run tradition, runners are asked to dress in white. Each runner will be given three bulloons, which the 'bulls' will attempt to burst. 'It's the last bulloon standing,' says O'Hare.

Belfast Bull RunAll proceeds from the Belfast Bull Run event go to the charity Clic Sargent Northern Ireland, Caring for Children with Cancer. The registration fee is £5 for runners, £7 for bulls, and can be ordered via the Clic Sargent website.

Well known Northern Irish actor Dan Gordon will also present, 'So You Think You've Got Troubles?' at the festival, a public lecture on the relationship between conflict and comedy at the Falls Road library on Friday, May 22. Family fun and comedy workshops will run throughout the entire weekend also.

To book tickets for all events at the Laugh at the Bank Weekend Comedy Festival, log on to the Féile An Phobail website or call in to the Belfast Welcome Centre on Royal Avenue, Belfast city centre.